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What Does Your "Ideal" Tobacco Review Look Like?

(42 posts)
  1. pruss

    pruss

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    Afternoon gang,

    I've perused quite a few different threads over the last year celebrating some tobacco reviews, and lambasting others. I have seen review(er)s criticized for being too long-winded & too abrupt, for over romanticizing a tobacco & for being boring. I enjoyed Greg Pease's article http://luxurytobaccoreviews.com/reviews-without-tears.php . This all said, I wonder what your ideal tobacco review looks like. I imagine this is different for everyone, but I thought it might be fun to see what is interesting to others. So... What do you like in a tobacco review?

    -- Pat

    Posted 5 years ago #
  2. latbomber

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    Good idea for a thread. My criteria would probably be the following:

    -Reviewer has smoked at least a whole tin of the tobacco

    -Skip the 4 page long back story about how the tobacco was chosen and acquired

    -Descriptors like "burns fast/slow" "leaves only ash" "makes clouds of smoke" can be omitted as they
    can be changed by drying/pipe selection etc

    -Posting reviews for a tobacco under the guise that it is new and then including in the last sentence: "tin 12 years old"

    -Posting a review for a blend with: "I usually HATE (insert tobacco style here) and never smoke them...and this one was terrible"

    I think thats a good enough vent for now haha.

    Posted 5 years ago #
  3. woodsroad

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    I'd like to suggest that the ideal "reviewer" is more important. Most people are (myself included) are not equipped to write a review that does justice to the product. I can write, and I was a journalist at a big-city newspaper for over 20 years, but I just don't know enough about tobacco to write authoritatively on the subject. How many reviews have you read where the reviewer plainly states "I really don't like (the type of blend being reviewed) so I wasn't surprised that I didn't like this one, either". Reviewing isn't about personal taste, it's about having a broad knowledge base, keen perceptions and the ability to put the item being reviewed in context. Oh, and the reviewer should sign his reviews with his own name.

    In addition, the ideal reviewer would:

    1. Be a competent writer
    2. Be well versed in the style, technical, historical, social and business aspects of tobacco
    3. Justify subjective statements.
    4. Share swag with friends.

    BTW, Pruss, I see that this post 1500 for you. Whoo-eee!

    Posted 5 years ago #
  4. mzpuff

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    I agree with the above post. Why bother giving your opinion on a blend if you dislike that style? Your opinion is unlikely to be favorable, and could easily misinform.

    Posted 5 years ago #
  5. cosmicfolklore

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    I've wondered this myself. I've read some that make my mouth water, and I head out to buy a tin immediately, only to be very disappointed. E. Robert's Great Outdoors review comes to mind. He did a wonderful job of selling me that blend, but...

    I've just stopped reading whole reviews altogether. I scan them looking for room note, strength, flavor, and then skim to see what specific flavors people mention. Whether they liked it or not... phhht, we all know that taste is like any other opinion. You can't count on them.

    However, I do stop to read entertaining reviews. If one is humorous or well written, I will give it a good read and chuckle or a nod of "wow".

    As an artist, I've dealt with reviews for decades now in other areas, and they are what they are. I've liked reviews that I have disagreed with, as well as reviews that echo my own opinions. For example, I still love Robert's review of Great Outdoors, and I've even re-read it after I found the blend horrid. It was a great one, but I just didn't agree with the tobacco. However, I can take away from it some things that I can apply to other blends when I want to sing it's praises.

    Michael
    Posted 5 years ago #
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    billypm

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    I hate the poseur reviews, full of words like "whilst" and "betwixt". Just tell me what the tobacco tastes like, please. There are so many times I'll read a review and have literally NO idea what the blend tastes like. It could be a Lakeland, an aromatic, a straight Va, or a Lat bomb and I would have no clue from the reviewer.

    Tell me what the baccy tastes like, whether you enjoyed it or not (and your reasons) and maybe compare or contrast it to a familiar tobacco for reference. "Sweeter than BBF", or "stronger than Irish Flake", or "Condor's little brother" are all helpful references. If it's a Va tell me if it is a citrusy golden taste, a haylike flavor, or one of the figgy ones. If the leaf has an obvious topping, tell us that and describe it as best you can. Fruit? Floral? Liquor of some kind?

    DON'T tell me it bit your tongue and tasted steamy and bloated-- and then admit you didn't dry it out. DON'T tell me it tasted hot and bitter-- and then admit you tried it as the first bowl of a new uncaked pipe. DON'T bother reviewing style of blends that you hate-- you're not going to like it no matter how good it is. How can that possibly be of use to those of us who prefer that type of blend?

    In short, use your head. You're reviewing tobaccos to help other smokers find stuff they might like. It's not rocket surgery.

    Posted 5 years ago #
  7. latbomber

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    full of words like "whilst" and "betwixt"

    YES. There are so many times I stop reading reviews that sound like they were written by a 16 year old lord of the rings enthusiast.

    Posted 5 years ago #
  8. pylorns

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    I tend to think that a single review could do it all if the reviewer followed a couple steps:

    1. Give an executive Summary
    2. Include amount you've smoked, pipe smoked in, if you thought it was mild, mid, strong, favors noted and other short and brief information in the summary.
    3. If you have a story to tell and want to be more elaborate with your review, by all means, keep this after you've put all the immediate details in the top level summary.

    Posted 5 years ago #
  9. cosmicfolklore

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    Billypm, as discussed on several other threads, people use the review sites for different reasons. Not everyone even cares about whether others will read their reviews or not. Some do it as a personal journal for themselves to remember what a blend tasted like. Some do it as some sort of contest to see who can review the most, and I suspect some do it as some sort of pissing contest to see who can look like the toughest smoker of the strongest blends. There are no rules as to how one should use the review sites. This is why I take the actual written part with a grain of sand.

    Yeh, it's irritating, but we do have some great reviewers right here on the pipes magazine forums. I would say the best reviewers.

    But, I use the review sites to just get an idea about a blend that I may be pondering. On an open forum site like the tobaccoreviews.com you just have to use it for what you need and move on. Anyone can post there. At least here, we all can smack the poster around if we disagree, ha ha

    Posted 5 years ago #
  10. cosmicfolklore

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    I do wish there was a more scientific way to determine strength of a blend. Everyone posts that burlys and these Lakelands are so strong in nicotine, but I just get grossed out more than a nic fix. And, the actual blends that quench my nic cravings are usually never mentioned as being strong. Just leaving it up to us to determine strength seems more like guesswork. How do we know that 1792 is stronger than Old Dark Fired? Because one makes someone more sick feeling than the other? Could it be that soapy taste was a chemical that made them sick?

    Posted 5 years ago #
  11. mso489

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    I was trained as a journalist at one point in my life, so despite some of my posts, I would say I appreciate
    a concise statement (what newspaper people call a lede, or some spell lead) at the beginning giving the
    nugget of the discussion, and then some brisk, brief facts to back up that lede. If a person is an
    extraordinary writer, sometimes they can weave a personal essay out of a review, but usually I end up
    not reading the whole piece, or trudging through it resentfully. Get out your topic sentence and
    conclusion first, then convince me, briefly. To close, don't get too cute with the "kicker."

    Posted 5 years ago #
  12. pruss

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    Thanks for the thoughts, folks, keep them coming.

    It is interesting, to me, to consider that tobacco review sites are used for more than reviews. For instance, I had never considered that some folks would use them as a journal for their tobacco experience.

    Let's, for the sake of this discussion, consider that the intent of the "ideal tobacco review" is to inform a smoker about how the tobacco actually smokes.

    I find myself leaning towards Pylorns basic steps to an effective review. I'd also suggest that, for me, the reviewer should use consistent tools, processes and protocols for each tobacco reviewed. I was quite taken by FlakyJakey's rigour in his comparison of Stonehaven and Germain's RDF. While I don't think that multiple bowls need to be smoked from multiple bowl materials, I think thought should be given to limiting the chance that a pipe would affect a tobacco's aroma and flavour components. Perhaps using the same meer or clay of a specific bowl size, shape, weight for each tobacco reviewed.

    I enjoy an entertaining review, but also get bored or irritated with reviews that try too hard and reviewers that use language that just doesn't work.

    Woodsroad, I'm interested in the thought that a reviewer has to be a tobacco expert; someone who understands history, cultivation, harvest, processing, blending, flavouring, marketing, etc. While I definitely agree that this level of knowledge or understanding will help someone write a rich review and analysis, I wonder if it's required knowledge for the purpose of describing how a specific tobacco smokes.

    I know a large number of long time pipe smokers who are very good at describing what their tobacco tastes like, why they like it, and how it smokes, but couldn't tell me where Perique comes from. That level of detail just isn't something they need to know.

    Anyway... more to chew on. I look forward to reading more of your thoughts.

    BTW, Pruss, I see that this post 1500 for you. Whoo-eee!

    Well hot diggity dog! I wasn't paying attention. I need to tell Cortez, I think this means I can get an extra drink ticket at the annual PipesMagazine.com/forums pig roast and square dance.

    -- Pat

    Posted 5 years ago #
  13. woodsroad

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    thought that a reviewer has to be a tobacco expert

    In an ideal situation. I'm not dogmatic. But the more that a reviewer knows, the better he/she can describe the experience, bring understanding to what they are alleging, and inform the reader. I'm certainly NOT saying that the reviewer needs to lord it over the reader. Not at all. The reviewer's job is to translate the experience to the reader in a way that that edifies, enlightens and entertains. So the more background that the reviewer has to draw upon, the easier to relate to, and the more successful their work will be.

    And, yes, at 1500 posts, you get a special prize: A box of fingertip band-aids and an all expense-paid trip to the ophthalmologist!

    Posted 5 years ago #
  14. pruss

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    A box of fingertip band-aids and an all expense-paid trip to the ophthalmologist!

    Pardon the cross-thread homage. Wicked... that should prevent pipe-smoking induced hang-nail and eye cancer.

    But the more that a reviewer knows, the better he/she can describe the experience, bring understanding to what they are alleging, and inform the reader. I'm certainly NOT saying that the reviewer needs to lord it over the reader. Not at all. The reviewer's job is to translate the experience to the reader in a way that that edifies, enlightens and entertains. So the more background that the reviewer has to draw upon, the easier to relate to, and the more successful their work will be.

    I agree entirely.

    -- Pat

    Posted 5 years ago #
  15. cosmicfolklore

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    It's hard to believe a pipe smoker wouldn't know where perique comes from, but it does happen. The guy who runs the worst little pipe and cigar shop in town, a really horrid hole, was the first person I spoke with when I wanted my first real pipe. He told me that Latakia was an aromatic, with chemicals to make it smell like a campfire. He also told me that he never carried tins because they had a short shelf life and he had to throw away a bunch of old ones when he bought the shop, LOL.

    I am amazed at some of the flavors some post as tasting in the blends. I can get citrus, for example, but to distinguish from lemony and lime in a blend is beyond my taste buds. And, I can get some of the nutty tastes, but to distinguish between walnutty taste and an almondy taste... well, I take my hat off to them.

    I mostly clench my pipe while I work, so in my regular smoking ritual I can get a sweet, salty, acrid, leathery, or citrusy tastes. And, if I really concentrate with a fresh palate I can get the parts of my tongue that tingle or even some tastes, but no where near the detail that some can get. Maybe these people don't smoke a pipe but a few times a day. IDK.

    And, just to clarify, I don't post on any of the review sites anymore. I just don't have the time. That, and I had just rather use the sites before buying a new blend instead of adding more BS to the pile.

    Posted 5 years ago #
  16. pruss

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    I am amazed at some of the flavors some post as tasting in the blends. I can get citrus, for example, but to distinguish from lemony and lime in a blend is beyond my taste buds. And, I can get some of the nutty tastes, but to distinguish between walnutty taste and an almondy taste... well, I take my hat off to them.

    I hear you. I spend a lot of time tasting, describing what I taste, and teaching others to taste things critically. When I am working with a new class, and taking them through the basics of coffee cupping and tasting, I see a lot of blank looks and (not a little) trepidation when I describe a coffee as having sweet, fruity, jammy characteristics.

    Moving from, "tastes like citrus," to, "tastes like lime (or lemon)," isn't too far a leap. What it takes to make the leap is practice, and a general consensus on what makes lemon different from lime. There are tools used by tasters (and nosers) the world over to aid in this. But for most folks, the only way to get to a place where this level of flavour and aromatic discernment is easy is through LOTS of practice. While I do know folks who are blind to specific flavours and tastes, I firmly believe that critical tasting skills can be taught and practiced.

    -- Pat

    Posted 5 years ago #
  17. cosmicfolklore

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    You've sold me. I'd love to learn to taste more, just for my own pleasure. Where can one get this type of instruction? Or, is this off topic?

    Posted 5 years ago #
  18. pruss

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    Where are you located cosmic? Tasting, as a sensory tool, is really taking off with the rise of the food network, and a return to high quality coffee roasters, cafes, tea shops, craft brewers and micro-distilleries. I'd take a gander at all of the above in your area to see if any are running customer seminars on cupping/tasting.

    If you're looking for a little less rigour and more independent study, you could start by simply considering the four basic tastes whenever you taste something new. Ask yourself, does this taste salty, sour, sweet or bitter? (likely the answer will be all four in varying degrees)

    Consider which tastes are dominant. Then break down each taste into its component pieces. With your citrus example above, the taste that would lead me to lime versus lemon would be bitterness. While both limes and lemons have a sour taste, lime has a sharp, bitter bite which is lacking in lemon.

    Breaking down an unknown flavour into its compound tastes, and then associating those tastes with a specific flavour from memory takes practice. I am politely tolerated by loved ones and friends, as I'm the guy who smells his food before he eats it and who spends a lot of time asking people what they taste, all the while trying to guess what the ingredients are. Let me look through my coffee and tea books at work tomorrow and see if I can find some references for you.

    -- Pat

    Posted 5 years ago #
  19. pitchfork

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    For me, most reviews are too long. Three or four sentences is usually enough to describe the component tobaccos, how they work together and what constitute the main qualities of the smoke.

    Posted 5 years ago #
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    the only quality that matters to me is that the reviewer and I have similar preferences and perceive taste similarly. You could have a spectacular palate, but if you don't like the same qualities I do I can't get much useful info from your review. You have a convergence of tastes with everyone, and to get value from someone's review you need a higher percentage of convergence between your two tastes. Lots of guys are experienced pipe smokers with discerning palates, and I don't share their view on certain tobaccos.

    That's where tobaccoreviews can be useful. If you can find one prolific reviewer who likes the same sort of tobaccos you do and the percentage of convergence of your perceptions is high you just found yourself a guy whose reviews will be a pretty good gauge for you. For me it's DK. His many reviews were invaluable to me when I was running through new tobaccos to find what I wanted to cellar. I still go back and look for his opinions on tobacco pretty frequently.

    Posted 5 years ago #
  21. cosmicfolklore

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    I'll PM you.

    Posted 5 years ago #
  22. peckinpahhombre

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    In terms of length, in most cases I like a well structured paragraph of 3-6 sentences and not much more. I read a lot of fine wine reviews, and there are a number of masters in that field who know how to write a short, pithy review that is jam packed with information and gets to the point very quickly.

    Of course, the more entertaining and well-written it is, the more I am willing to indulge a longer review. As a general guideline, I like my movies two hours or less in length - but the Godfather gets a free pass.

    Posted 5 years ago #
  23. warren

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    All I'm really interested in is the content of the blend, the cut, toppings (if any) and the moisture level. Room note not essential as I never notice room note myself. Too many other variables with regard to personal taste and physiology for me to pay any attention to a taste test type of review.

    Edit: A bit of an expansion of my answer. I do look at reviews by members who seem to have been around a while. If a review piques my interest I might try a tin and if I experience similar tastes, etc. as the reviewer I put a bit of value on further reviews by the same author.

    A man without a shillelagh is a man without an expedient.
    Posted 5 years ago #
  24. misterlowercase

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    I agree that the reviewer is often more vital than the review, finding a similar palate match to your own. I'm still working my way thru Lat blends and I've found SteelCowboy on TR to converge with my preferences, so it's of value for me to get a good gauge on some unknown tobo.

    Sometimes the most short and concise reviews are the most helpful ones when trying to get a handle on something good to try.

    Sometimes I purposely avoid reviews of a tobo I'm going to smoke for the first time, and then read the reviews after the fact.

    After reading the flavor-wheel thread, it got me to thinking I need to make use of it, to get a shorthand profile of primary and secondary traits, then expand from that base with the more ineffable nuances. I'm not a particularly good reviewer, but it's something I want to try and work on.

    Sometimes I enjoy reading the long evocative reviews because often certain moods are captured and conveyed which highlight the more mysterious aspects of tobacco, the psychological realm of subjective interpretation can be an interesting thing, and such Proustian prose can help appreciate the more subtle depths...

    No sooner had the warm liquid mixed with the crumbs touched my palate than a shudder ran through me and I stopped, intent upon the extraordinary thing that was happening to me. An exquisite pleasure had invaded my senses, something isolated, detached, with no suggestion of its origin. And at once the vicissitudes of life had become indifferent to me, its disasters innocuous, its brevity illusory – this new sensation having had on me the effect which love has of filling me with a precious essence; or rather this essence was not in me it was me. ... Whence did it come? What did it mean? How could I seize and apprehend it? ... And suddenly the memory revealed itself. The taste was that of the little piece of madeleine which on Sunday mornings at Combray (because on those mornings I did not go out before mass), when I went to say good morning to her in her bedroom, my aunt Léonie used to give me, dipping it first in her own cup of tea or tisane. The sight of the little madeleine had recalled nothing to my mind before I tasted it. And all from my cup of tea.

    But when from a long-distant past nothing subsists, after the people are dead, after the things are broken and scattered, taste and smell alone, more fragile but more enduring, more unsubstantial, more persistent, more faithful, remain poised a long time, like souls, remembering, waiting, hoping, amid the ruins of all the rest; and bear unflinchingly, in the tiny and almost impalpable drop of their essence, the vast structure of recollection.

    -Marcel Proust
    http://www.haverford.edu/psych/ddavis/p109g/proust.html

    A tobacco like St. Bruno is difficult to accurately review because of the compounded nature of its complex essence. The old recipe is online and one finds the essence contains stuff like Musk Ketone, Courmarin, and Cassia Oil, amongst other things - but knowing the technical info hasn't really added to my enjoyment or even really unwrapped the mystery, trying to discover the secret I found myself reading perfume blogs LOL and learning about aldehydes and an olfactive group known as Chypre (this sharp scent is based on harmony of oak moss, labdanum, patchouli and bergamot). Musk Ambrette or Musk Mallow? I'm still in the dark!

    The old professor gives a good review of it:
    http://pipes.priss.org/misc.php#saint_bruno

    Pruss,
    since you're well familiar with sensorial education, could you recco a "palate builder kit" of spices, herbs and fruits or whatever that would help expand my vocabulary with these things? I'm not really a foodie and don't have a wide range of taste references, I'd love to develop my flavor detection skills, would a "palate builder kit" be effective or possible to do this?

    Posted 5 years ago #
  25. rmbittner

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    I admit to not having read *all* of the previous posts in this thread, but I definitely agree with the majority on the main points.

    The one thing I really appreciate in a blend review is some indication that the reviewer is familiar with the style and can compare/contrast the blend under review with other similar offerings.

    Frankly, I couldn't care less about "room note" or how easily a blend "takes a light," unless there is something especially newsworthy about these things. (For instance, it's definitely helpful to know the work that goes into preparing Dark Star for the bowl. But that's a pretty unusual example.) And "room note" is virtually impossible for the smoker to critique accurately. Flavor and aroma -- to the smoker -- are far more meaningful to me.

    And I have to heartily agree with those here who want a review to be a review -- not a literary exercise, not poetry, and certainly not self-help. Honestly, it isn't always helpful to even know if the reviewer *liked* a blend or not, since all of our tastes differ. But if the description is accurately and thoughtfully presented, I'll be able to decide for myself whether or not I'll like it.

    Personally, I've found a small handful of reviewers whose opinions and palates I trust. They don't wax on about the dozens of non-tobacco flavors they've encountered in a blend -- we can talk ourselves into tasting/smelling just about anything from blueberry compote to "wet straw after a clean spring rain." Be real. Yes, a reviewer's palate may be so highly refined that he/she actually can suss out a dozen different flavors, but how does that help the vast majority of us who aren't so keenly attuned? In most cases, I'd say that it doesn't.

    Bob

    Posted 5 years ago #
  26. mso489

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    My main requirement is factual information rather than a reviewer trying to cast a spell. Sometimes it feels
    like reviewers are writing to fill the page, as if they are being paid by the word, and just want to string it out.
    Unrelated subjects are unacceptable. A review should read as if it is rigorously edited, pared down, either
    because it is, or because the writer is direct and to the point.

    Posted 5 years ago #
  27. warren

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    "No sooner had the warm liquid . . . " is right up there with "It was a dark and stormy night . . . " Those who enjoy seeing this style of tripe will enjoy the "The Bulwar-Lytton Fiction Contest." It presents awards to really badly written prose.

    Posted 5 years ago #
  28. owen

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    Reference to other similar tobaccos is always useful, also knowing which companies version of the blend it is.

    Posted 2 years ago #
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    bigpond

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    Weird necro but this man nailed it-

    Peck said:

    In terms of length, in most cases I like a well structured paragraph of 3-6 sentences and not much more. I read a lot of fine wine reviews, and there are a number of masters in that field who know how to write a short, pithy review that is jam packed with information and gets to the point very quickly.

    Posted 2 years ago #
  30. jackswilling

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    Yes a Zombie thread.
    Look over the reviews to get a feel for what to expect.
    Agree with the notion that the reviewer is the key, not how well written the review is. I look for, am not limited to
    The Stud
    The Ink
    First and foremost
    And also look for
    DK
    Stevie B
    Steel Cowboy
    Others
    I find the Tobacco Reviews useful
    YouTube reviews are worthless to me.
    If Pipe Stud loves it, and it is not "strong" I will like it as a general matter. If Jim Inks likes it same.

    "Had his shooting been as good as his running, he might have given a better account of himself."
    James. C. Henderson
    Posted 2 years ago #
  31. badger

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    Just a fun challenge: in your tobacco review, when referring to the past tense act opening a tin, observing the pouch note or lighting a bowl, resist the urge to use the word "upon."

    Posted 2 years ago #
  32. newbroom

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    I usually go to tobacco reviews dot com and look for a particular blend I may be curious about, and when I do, I look for a certain few reviews from which I can make a reasonable determination as to the value of their subject.

    Among those are:
    1. JimInks
    2. Pipestud
    3. DK
    (deathmetal, of these forums, has a lot of reviews up, but his opinion seems to vary to extremes)

    Posted 2 years ago #
  33. sablebrush52

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    Raising the dead again.

    Short, focused, descriptive in an understandable manner, objective as possible. JimInks, DK, Steel Cowboy immediately come to mind as reviewers I find helpful. A lack of "I" phrases is a pretty good sign.

    I don't need to know, nor care to know, that the reviewer washed his long johns in lye soap for the first time this month or that his "Unkle Jody rassled gators until he got et by one". That's more for youtube anyway.

    It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to open one's mouth and remove all doubt. - Mark Twain

    It is pointless to argue with a fanatic since a dim bulb can't be converted into a searchlight. - Jesse Silver
    Posted 2 years ago #
  34. balkisobrains

    balkisobrains

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    A lot of my "trusted reviewers" are the same as everyone elses!

    I like to hear about the specific flavors/odors that people pick up. It's most helpful if the reference is something that I may actually have tasted or could taste/smell easily, or at least look up online to find out what else their reference tastes/smells like. I think that someone posted a picture of a very detailed "flavor-wheel" on here a while ago that I meant to save. I'm sure a google search would bring it right up.

    If someone says that they like or dislike the flavor of blend, it's helpful to include why! It's not very useful to say how they reacted to the taste and just leave it at that.

    Posted 2 years ago #
  35. deathmetal

    deathmetal

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    Every genre of reviews has its stereotype, and most are bad because they miss the bigger point.

    For example:


    The leaf unloads in a ribbon cut that is easy to stuff and pack with minimal drying. On first light, the warm honey and hay flavor of the Virginias overwhelms the palate. After the tamp and re-light, the smoky leather and coffee flavors of Latakia intervene. At the third of a bowl marker, the tangy vinegar and sausage flavor of the Orientals appears, but in the second half of the bowl, the nutty Burley flavor emerges with overtones of steak, beans, eggs and Worchestshire sauce. The last half of the bowl brings out the fruity and spicy flavors of the Perique, which have a unique fig and gefilte fish taste. The bowl ends with very little dottle and burns down to a fine white ash. It is relatively light on Lady N, but I would not smoke it on a 6 AM Las Vegas morning after a hangover and dehydration by participating in a BBW orgy in Caesar's Palace. I would smoke this again if it were free, like this sample, but otherwise, this is a great tobacco for people who like similar tobaccos, and they might enjoy it especially if they like leather and sausage flavor in their tobacco.

    Some of this is necessary, but the flavor metaphor and adjective overload becomes painful, especially since the point of a blend is how its elements work together to make a unique flavor and smoking experience. What these reviews reflect is the need of the reviewer to write something mostly positive about everything put out by their corporate sponsors, and to do so in an assembly-line fashion enough that they can keep cranking them out without having to do the hard work of writing, which is to describe in an evocative and intriguing way the blend and bring out its actual utility to the smoker.

    Death metal reviews are exactly the same thing:


    When I first threw this disc on, I thought, "Oh man, another brutal death metal band." But Eviscerated Colon is... different. At first, I could only hear the mixed samba and grindcore style drums, but then I got mesmerized by the droning trance-like guitar riffs that seemed to be melted from raw twisted metal, reeling and groaning like a submarine at 800 feet deep that just hit an aquatic mine. Then in crashed the lead guitars, bluesy and rich with plenty of accidentals but contorted on themselves like a drunk meth-head gutshot by the law. Finally, the riffs hit me. Wow, what a cornucopia of sound! Fruity jazz-based riffs explode into the soundscape like tomatoes thrown at a movie preview, and staccato chromatic riffs detonate like a row of squash plants ground under a steamroller. Then I realized, this is totally brutal. It will tear your head off and crush your soul. The album wound down in an explosion of violence, leaving behind no thoughts of my own. If you really like brutal death metal, but want it with some jazz and indie rock action, this band may be your favorite this week.

    The great writers out there strive to bring you the experience as a whole, not dissect it into parts ("deconstruction"?) and then layer those in superlatives.

    $0.02

    "My own experience has been that the tools I need for my trade are paper, tobacco, food, and a little whiskey." -- William Faulkner

    The Metal Mixtures
    Posted 2 years ago #
  36. User has not uploaded an avatar

    shutterbugg

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    Because peoples' taste varies widely, the important thing for me is finding a reviewer whose taste most closely approximates my own. I look for reviews of blends I've smoked. If a reviewer and I agree on the majority of those, then I'm apt to trust that reviewer on blends I'm thinking of buying, regardless of how well the guy writes.

    Posted 2 years ago #
  37. mso489

    mso489

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    I think others have touched on this, but it is essential that the blender/brand be stated; the constituent tobaccos and cut be established; and one or two online retailers or other sources for the product be cited. Brevity is golden. Rambling and "charming" prose is suspect and often accompanies lack of the basic information. jiminks does the most quality reviews for Forums and usually keeps it to a tight paragraph or two, but with full detail. The member who does newbie reviews also does good work. And others ... those two come to mind.

    Posted 2 years ago #
  38. warren

    warren

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    jiminks is succinct. I like succinct. Wish I could be as terse sometimes.

    Posted 2 years ago #
  39. jefff

    jefff

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    Exactly.

    Posted 2 years ago #
  40. mso489

    mso489

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    A play-by-play of the experience, opening the tin and the flavors unfolding etc., should be brief and only come after all of the objective specifications of the blend. Too much of this is a dubious effort since people experience flavors quite differently. When it is given without the specs on the blend, it's just infuriating.

    Posted 2 years ago #
  41. hawky454

    hawky454

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    DK
    Steel Cowboy
    Gentleman Zombie

    Those are my boys!

    Posted 2 years ago #
  42. curl

    curl

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    I don't buy blends based on written reviews.
    I use tobaccoreviews.com and search blend types that are highly rated and reviewed by at least 50 or more people.
    I figure if the crowd gives an average rating of 3.5 or more, an average guy like me will probably like the blend, too.

    Posted 2 years ago #

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